Happy Birthday to Me (with Mint Chip Ice Cream)

After becoming a parent your own birthdays are not as meaningful or exciting to you, but they are for your kids.  Even if the gifts they see you open aren’t toys like they’d hope for, they still look forward to the cake.  What’s a birthday without cake?  The cake was never as important to me, even as a kid, as the ice cream.  I do appreciate a good layer cake, and I must admit the Ghostly Good Cake was a tasty one.  However we have so many birthdays and desserts the month of July, I’m ready to make something different.  

Of course my husband always brings a cake home.  It’s usually a petit one (so we don’t have left-overs) for the candle and singing ritual from the local bakery or grocer, which is usually fine and tasty.  But I insist on making mint chip ice cream.  The kids protested when I said I was making ice cream and said “It’s your birthday, you can’t make it yourself”.  To which I replied “It’s my birthday and I want MY mint ice cream. Not one you buy in a store.” 

This is my favorite recipe for mint chip ice cream.  Note: it is more mint than chocolate and thus not chocoalte mint.  It’s not a crazy color green and doesn’t have mint extract, but the real mint from the garden.  It makes it like no one else’s.  Even the kids agree, once they’re reminded by the taste.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe

(from Simply Recipes.com)

Ingredients

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  • 3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, keep in the freezer until used

Method

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1 Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.

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2 While the mint is infusing in step 1, prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

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3 Strain the milk cream mixture into a separate bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

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4 Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

5 Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

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The custard base does not coat the back of the spoon, it is not ready.

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The custard base coats the back of the spoon. You can run your finger across the coating and have it not run. It is ready and should be removed from heat immediately, and poured through the sieve over the ice bath to stop the cooking.

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6 Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking.

7 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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8 Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

Makes 1 quart.

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